Unit 731 - Complex-1-
The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army, more commonly known as Unit 731, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that practiced lethal experimentation on humans, including infection of prisoners of war with diseases, exposure of prisoners of war to chemical weapons, and vivisection. Unit 731 was established by General Shiro Ishii in 1936 in the Pingfan district of Harbin, China, after a previous facility was shut down in 1935 in the wake of a prisoner escape. It operated throughout both the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. In 1945, after Japan surrendered, General Douglas MacArthur brokered a deal that saw the scientists of Unit 731 avoid prosecution by turning over all research to the United States.

Unit 731 in The War That Came EarlyEdit

In 1940, Unit 731 saw an influx of Soviet prisoners of war captured by Japanese forces at Vladivostok.[1] There the POWs, dubbed "logs",[2] were subject to a variety of experiments under the supervision of Colonel Shiro Ishii.[3] These experiments continued even after a peace settlement had been concluded between Japan and the USSR not long after Vladivostok fell.[4]

Sergeant Hideki Fujita was assigned as a guard at Unit 731 in the middle of 1940 and remained there into the next year. During that time, Japan went to war with the United States in January 1941. In short order, American Marines were captured in China and sent to Unit 731.[5] Unlike their Soviet counterparts, the Americans actively sought to escape captivity. Herman Szulc's efforts led to three escapes, and consequently to Fujita's demotion to corporal.[6]


  1. The Big Switch, pgs. 185-186.
  2. Ibid., e.g, at pg. 239.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 241.
  4. Ibid., pg. 296.
  5. Coup d'Etat, pg. 116, HC.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 116-119.